Arab News Japan
TOKYO: The Russian ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, is expected to leave his post in November, without specifying his successor, Japanese media quoted Russian “sources” as saying.
His departure comes amid strained bilateral relations over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began in February and Japan’s full participation in Western sanctions against Moscow.
Galuzin, 62, assumed the position of ambassador in March 2018. He is known for his expertise in Japanese affairs, having held diplomatic posts in Japan four times since the days of the Soviet Union.
Galuzin joined the Russian Foreign Ministry in 1983, and served as Minister and Counselor of the Russian Embassy in Japan from 2001 to 2008. He also served as Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia from 2012 to 2017, before being appointed to Japan by President Vladimir Putin in January 2018.
Galuzin entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union in 1983. From 1983 to 1986 he served at the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Japan, from 1992 to 1997 the Russian Embassy to Japan, and from 2001 to 2008 Minister of the Embassy of Japan,
Galuzin is firmly committed to Moscow’s position on issues related to its war on Ukraine and the islands controlled by Russia and claimed by Japan, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kuril Islands in Russia.
In early October, he was summoned to the Japanese Foreign Ministry after it ordered a Russian diplomat based in Sapporo to leave in retaliation for Moscow’s expulsion of a Japanese consul the previous month.
Galuzin said at the time that such a move would only further deteriorate bilateral relations.
Galuzin had said in an exclusive interview with ANJ that Japanese sanctions on his country would cause damage to Japan. Russia has suspended its talks with Tokyo to sign a peace treaty to resolve the territorial dispute and issued decisions banning dozens of Japanese politicians, lawmakers and media people from entering Russia.
In an interview with Arab News Japan, Galuzin criticized Japan for “incorrectly applying wide sanctions,” but also said that the cooperation between the two nations has been “very valuable and mutually beneficial for decades.”
Galuzin also warned against Japan forming nuclear alliances with others and against involving NATO in East Asia. “We think the policy of the US and its allies, including Japan, to involve NATO in the Asia-Pacific region issues is very dangerous because, wherever NATO was involved, there is no peace, no stability and no prosperity. Look at what happened in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Yugoslavia was destroyed and divided.
“Instead of Asian groupings, the US tries to create a group of US-centered coalitions like AUKUS, Quad, US-Japan, US-(South) Korea and US-Australia military alliances. They are closed structures that divide the region, not consolidate it. We recommend that Asian countries consider whether it is good for the region’s future to welcome NATO here,” he said.
On current Japan-Russia relations and future prospects, the ambassador said Russia sees Japan, the G7 and other European countries’ positions as based on “double standards” because they did not previously speak out against the US’ “past aggression” against countries like Yugoslavia.
“For instance, the American aggression against Iraq was based on allegations that Iraq had arms of mass destruction, which turned out to be a lie. However, they attacked and destroyed Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, which led to the Middle East becoming a hub for … widespread international terrorism,” he said.
“The G7 countries, including the Japanese leadership, misinterpreted the goals and tasks of our (Russian) special military operation in Ukraine and completely ignored an obvious fact that a huge and very real threat was coming from the Ukrainian government policy toward Russia,” he told Arab News Japan.
“After the 2014 bloody coup d’état, which led to an illegal regime change in Ukraine, the society there has been educated to hate all things related to Russia, including language, culture, traditions, common history and relations, destroying millions of ties between people,” he said.
Moreover, he claimed that radical Ukrainian forces, whom he labeled as Nazis, had seized power and declared war on everything related to Russia, especially in what is known as the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. These breakaway groups had rejected the coup not only because they considered it illegal, but as a result of the regime tried to prohibit the Russian language in Ukraine, called to oust all Russians from Crimea, and cut all ties with Russia, he added.
“That regime of Ukrainian Nazis also received a huge amount of lethal arms from NATO to attack the population, mainly of Russian origin, killing 14,000 people and injuring hundreds, including children. They caused widespread devastation in that region. It has been ongoing genocide for the last eight years that nobody has paid attention to except Russia,” according to Galuzin.
“The Kyiv regime had rejected the Minsk agreements on peaceful settlement in the eastern part of Ukraine.”
Galuzin said that the Russian government believed a possible dangerous nuclear war could be ignited if Kyiv joined NATO, which had several nations armed with these weapons.
Galuzin claimed that Russia found documents showing the Ukrainian regime, in cooperation with the US, preparing for “the production of biological weaponry, relying on more than 30 military biological facilities located in Ukraine and controlled by the Pentagon.”